ICC Media Release
The road to the ICC Cricket World Cup (ICC CWC) 2011 continues for six teams on Saturday with the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 (ICC WCL Div.2) in Windhoek, Namibia.
The hosts, as well as Argentina, Denmark, Oman, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will battle it out over a week of action at three venues around the city.
And at stake are four places in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier (formerly the ICC Trophy) in the UAE in 2009, the tournament that will determine which of the leading ICC Associate and Affiliate teams will go to the ICC Cricket World Cup in the Asian sub-continent two years later.
For five of the teams in Windhoek, it is a road they have travelled down before as Denmark, Namibia, Oman, Uganda and the UAE all played in the ICC Trophy in 2005 but failed to reach this year's Caribbean showpiece.
However, Namibia (2003 in Southern Africa) and the UAE (1996 in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) have both reached the ICC CWC so they should know exactly what is at stake and what sort of rewards are on offer to the successful sides.
The new kid on the block is Argentina, a country basking in the glory of its success in the recent IRB Rugby World Cup where its side reached the semi-finals and finished third.
The cricketers have done just as well in many senses because, as late replacements for the United States of America in the ICC WCL Div.3 event earlier this year in Darwin, they were not expected to make many headlines.
On paper, at least, the likes of Fiji, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and the Cayman Islands all looked likely finalists alongside the fancied Uganda, and there were also Italy and Tanzania to consider.
But Argentina proceeded to rip up the formbook and won through to the final before losing out to Uganda, the other side to earn promotion from that event which gave both line-ups their tickets to Windhoek.
It will be fascinating to see if the South American side can continue its journey or whether it will get stopped in its tracks by some of the more experienced sides on show.
Explaining the significance of the ICC WCL and how the Windhoek tournament fits in, ICC Global Development Manager Matthew Kennedy said: 'The idea of the WCL is to give each of the ICC's 91 Associate and Affiliate Members a clearly defined pathway to progress and develop in world cricket.
'Apart from Division 1, which involves the top six Associate sides, the next best teams from the ICC Trophy 2005 have been allocated to Division 2 and 3 events along with the top teams from each of five regional qualifying events.
'It means that regular global one-day cricket opportunities are no longer confined to just the top sides in the LG ICC ODI Championship table and this tournament in Windhoek is an example of that.
'Our belief is that by exposing these sides to different opponents and different conditions they will improve and take that improvement back into their own domestic structures thereby helping our strong sport grow even stronger by broadening its base to a significant degree.
'With places up for grabs in the ICC CWC Qualifier, the incentives and rewards for teams to improve have never been greater and I wish all the sides in action in Namibia the best of luck in what should be a terrific tournament and a great advertisement for Associate and Affiliate cricket,' he added.